The reports of Sachar and Ranganath Misra committees on minority welfare on Thursday generated heat in the Lok Sabha, with RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his SP counterpart Mulayam Singh Yadav charging the government with being anti-Muslim and leading walkout by their party members.
BJP members too utilised the opportunity to express anguish over non-utilisation of funds for development of social infrastructure, including water and power, in Muslim-dominated areas, especially slums.
The issue cropped up during Question Hour when Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid was replying to questions on the implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations.
"I am thankful for your advice but I don't know what question you asked," Khurshid remarked after Prasad wanted to know whether the government was prepared to amend the Constitution to provide reservation to Muslims in government jobs as it was doing for women.
Prasad and Yadav insisted on a proper reply and later led their members in staging walkout from the House.
Trying to ease the situation, Speaker Meira Kumar said, "If you give a notice, we can have a separate discussion on the matter."
Earlier when a BJP member asked a supplementary alleging non-utilisation of funds for development of social infrastructure in Muslim-dominated localities, Khurshid suggested that the MPLAD scheme, under which Rs 2 crore was allocated to each MP for carrying out development activities in their respective constituencies, could be utilised for the purpose.
This led to a furore in the House, with BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain accusing the government of shirking its responsibility.
He was supported by members from SP, RJD, BJD and several other opposition parties, who also asked the government to withdraw the MPLAD scheme.
Even Prasad told the minister "you can keep your suggestion to yourself and withdraw the MPLAD scheme".